Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.

Contact

Send a question or comment using the form below. This message may be routed through support staff.

Email Article

ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed

Manhattan Institute

search
Close Nav

The WeWork Tech Fiasco: Have We 'Jumped The Shark' With The 'Tech' Label?

commentary

The WeWork Tech Fiasco: Have We 'Jumped The Shark' With The 'Tech' Label?

Forbes September 25, 2019
EconomicsOther

It’s time to ask, now that the IPO attempt failed and the CEO has been deposed: Does anyone still believe that WeWork is really a “tech company”? Please. Point to any technology that the company invented.

Of course WeWork used modern digital technology to operate its business. And it proudly marketed to and housed many companies that were in fact “tech.” Yes, the investors from SoftBank to Goldman put the company in their tech ‘bucket’. And WeWork’s (now former) flamboyant chief certainly epitomized the new cool of a t-shirt-wearing ‘tech’ CEO whose attire and style screams “I’m not a ‘suit’.”

But it stretches credulity to label a commercial real estate business as a tech company. There is in fact a conga line of similarly mislabeled ‘tech’ companies on the lists of “unicorns” (private companies worth over a billion dollars) awaiting an IPO.

If clever design, well-executed services and slick marketing gambits targeting Millennial office-space renters constitutes “tech,” then what’s next? Pig farming? Well….

It turns out the second biggest digital gaming company in China (think Nintendo) is building a huge pig farm, and they’re not alone. Given the demand for pork in China, a tech company can certainly bring to bear the power of analytics including artificial intelligence to make raising pigs “more efficient.” But it’s still a livestock farm that sends swine to the slaughterhouse. One could say the same about, say, office rentals, ride-hailing or food delivery, or banking.

Continue reading the entire piece here at Forbes

______________________

Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a faculty fellow at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering, and author of the recent report, “The ‘New Energy Economy’: An Exercise in Magical Thinking.” Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Saved!
Close